How art becomes hope for underprivileged, forgotten lives
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How art becomes hope for underprivileged, forgotten lives
  • Shim Su-min
  • 승인 2011.06.04 16:27
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▲ Members of Art & Sharing painted the plain retaining wall in Godeok-dong on May 21.
In 1975, Venezuelan musician Jose Antonio Abreu founded an orchestra called El Sistema, to provide underprivileged children chances to learn music. With musical instruments freely provided by El Sistema, children who used to be surrounded by drug abuse and crime began to find new dreams in musical harmonies. The ghetto’s crime rate decreased rapidly and at the same time, some children like Gustavo Dudamel and Edicson Ruiz pursued careers as world-famous musicians. With all the changes that El Sistema brought to the community, people recognized it as a miracle orchestra and initiated similar programs to rescue impoverished children through the help of art.
In Korea, as well, some organizations have been actively working to make a difference in the lives of the underprivileged children with art. Art & Sharing is a non profit organization in which 63 students from various universities including Ewha Womans University, Seoul National University, and Yonsei University, provide volunteer services to the underprivileged people.
“We believe in the power of art, and try to share it with people who were neglected in the art sector due to poverty,” said Han Joo-hee (Seoul National University, 4), the vice president of Art & Sharing. “We want those people to be empowered and get some positive energy by the art service we offer.”
Art & Sharing is based on three different projects: Art Education, Art Performance and Visual Art. The Art Education Project helps children in low income families obtain self-confidence and build a positive identity by providing free art education services.
▲ Members of Art & Sharing are doing the art education program to community children on May 12.

“Children learn how to express themselves by learning art. Both the children and members get some positive energy in our activity,” Han said. “We also expect our the children who received art education from us to share their talent with society when they grow up.”
In the Art Performance Project, members of Art & Sharing visit children, culturally neglected seniors or the disabled to give benefit performances. As a part of the project, Art and Sharing held a classical music concert on April 6 in Mapo-gu for elementary school students.
The Visual Art Project provides people in rural areas with the chance to enjoy art exhibitions by installing guerilla museum which is prefabricated museums made temporarily in the communities.
While Art & Sharing is a group of volunteers depending on local communities and companies for financial support, Jobarte, another art group, presents itself as a social enterprise. It has its own business model to earn profit and practices social responsibility by teaching art to underprivileged children.
Jobarte is a compound word from job, art and play. The word tells the organization’s two objectives: to provide jobs to artists suffering from financial difficulty and to provide underprivileged children with the chance for art education since they don’t get many chances to enjoy art and culture due to poverty.
47 artists agreed to provide art education to underprivileged children without charge. Since it’s launching in 2004, 5,000 students in total have received instruction from Jobarte. Currently, around 950 children from low-income families are taking art classes held by Jobarte.
“I wish various people would be able to communicate by participating in various art activities like Jobarte,” said Lee Sun-jung, the manager of Jobarte. “I believe this will help our community to be healthy and lively.”

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